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January 08, 2005


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By abducting the concept of modernity as a monopoly of the West, Western scholars obstruct true modernity in a diverse world. Modernity is defined by the West as a collection of Western values arbitrarily deemed universal - the secular culture of circular rationality, materialist science, alienating individualism, technical innovation, amoral legalism, selective democracy and exploitative capitalism that Western imperialism has spread worldwide in different forms and to varying degrees. Religious fundamentalism is currently enjoying unprecedented influence over secular politics within the United States, as exemplified by President George W Bush's proclamation that God, not the US constitution, told him to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. While the separation of church and state is still a governing tenet in the US, separation of religion and politics is non-existent.

That Old Time Religion (part 2 of Henry Liu's Reality Correcting purgative)


This is the fundamental error. Religious fundamentalists have not been scouting out candidates that would take us to war with Afghanistan. Dobson's Focus on the Family is by far the most influential of the charismatics and that's not what they are about. Sure it's nice to have someone in the Oval who goes to the same chruch, but that's not 'unprecedented influence over secular politics'.

This Liu character is just not right, by the way. In one character he.. well see for yourself:
Mohammed the Prophet entered Mecca in AD 630 and established Islamic rule. The growing forces of Muslim, 121 years from that date, after having conquered Spain, North Africa, Egypt, Persia and much of Byzantium, decisively defeated the Tang Chinese army in 751 at the famous Battle of Talas, between modern-day Tashkent and Lake Balkhash. The Arab victory was aided by a branch of Muslim Tujue (Turkic) tribes known as Karluks, who launched a surprised attack on Tang forces from the rear. The Battle of Talas halted Chinese expansion into Central Asia.

That's the whole paragraph. Notice the lack of editorial. But then this:
The scientific and industrial revolutions vastly increased the wealth and power of the West from the middle of the 19th century. After the defeat of the Islamic Ottoman Empire in World War I, the Middle East was taken over by European powers and broken up into colonies and protectorates. Today, despite decolonization, nationalism and oil riches, this region remains poor and underdeveloped, not because modernity bypassed it, but because modernity arrived in the form of neo-colonialism. Westernization in these lands has produced miserable results, forcing the Islamic world to the conclusion that the solution may be a renewal of the Islamic faith that reigned in the days of their former greatness. The West derides this view as a rejection of modernity, notwithstanding historical evidence of the Arab world having embraced science and technology at a time when the best minds in the West were still prisoners of the flat-Earth doctrine.

So when the Arabs did their conquering, was that just regular colonialism? Nothing wrong with that? Did they foist their values on these other places? A little raping? A little pillaging? A little burning, or were they welcomed as liberators?

But I will get back on point...

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